MCS 2019

Members of Mansfield Christian's Class of 2019 talk before their graduation ceremony last spring.

MANSFIELD — It’s been a trying year for Mansfield Christian’s Class of 2020, but superintendent Cy Smith thinks the Flames will burn brightly.

Mansfield Christian’s traditional graduation ceremony plans were scrapped because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, MCS will host a drive-in ceremony at 3 p.m. May 31 in the parking lot of Berean Baptist Church, 2145 Middle Bellville Rd.

“This class had a student pass away from cancer during the year. They’ve had a tough senior year,” Smith said. “Not only are they the first class to ever have to finish like this, they also are one of very, very few classes to ever go through high school losing a classmate at the age of 18.

“These are big experiences for students at this age to have to walk through.”

Like several area schools, MCS will have a drive-in graduation ceremony where spectators remain in their cars. Students will be summoned to a stage set up in the Berean Baptist parking lot to receive their diplomas.

“We have a stage rented and a sound system rented and we’ll have an FM transmitter that will broadcast to a certain frequency in the cars,” Smith said. “We’re going to try to do it as close to live as we can. We’ll have student speakers and a normal commencement address.

“Spectators will be in their vehicles and there will be a space between cars. Graduates and their families will have assigned spots.”

The rain date for the event is May 30. If the forecast calls for rain on May 31, the ceremony will be moved up.

“The nice thing about doing it this way is there is some flexibility built in,” Smithy said. “If there is rain possible at 3 o’clock, we can move it back to 4 or 5.”

Like school administrators all across north central Ohio, Smith is heartbroken for all the Class of 2020 has had to sacrifice because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m sure these kids are sad and mad and disappointed, but they have handled it as well as could be expected,” Smith said. “They’ve handled it with a lot of maturity and resiliency.

“We hurt for them, but these kids get it. They recognize this thing isn’t just affecting them. It’s impacting the entire world.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.